Philosophy, Bachelor of Arts

Traditional Program (36 credits) or Applied Program (30 credits)

Students at Marywood University can earn an undergraduate degree in Philosophy through one of two programs: the traditional and the applied. The traditional major in Philosophy is a stand-alone program, whereas the program in applied Philosophy requires students to adopt Philosophy as a second major.

Our approach to the major in philosophy is consistent with The American Philosophical Association’s statement on the study of philosophy: “The study of philosophy serves to develop intellectual abilities important for life as a whole, beyond the knowledge and skills required for any particular profession. Properly pursued, it enhances analytical, critical, and interpretive capacities that are applicable to any subject matter, and in any human context. It cultivates the capacities and appetite for self-expression and reflection, for exchange and debate of ideas, for lifelong learning, and for dealing with problems for which there are no easy answers. It also helps to prepare one for the tasks of citizenship. Participation in political and community affairs today is all too often insufficiently informed, manipulable, and vulnerable to demagoguery. A good philosophical education enhances the capacity to participate responsibly and intelligently in public life. The primary purpose of the major in philosophy is better conceived as a valuable and indeed paradigmatic ‘liberal education’ major. Its basic purpose should be to introduce interested students to philosophy in ways that will serve them well—both professionally and personally—whatever they may go on to do after graduation.

The Traditional Program

Consists of thirty-six credits, including Introduction to Philosophy (PHIL 113), Critical Thinking (PHIL 215), Ethics (PHIL 315), two three-credit courses in the history of philosophy, Symbolic Logic (PHIL 304), and any six electives in Philosophy. The traditional major provides a degree structure for a thorough study of Philosophy, which is for students who desire to have a more comprehensive understanding of Philosophy, such as those who are interested in pursuing graduate studies in Philosophy. The applied program may be attractive to students who are seeking to use Philosophy in conjunction with their study of another discipline to round out their studies. For example, a major in Philosophy works well with majors in Biology, Psychology, History, Business, Religious Studies, English, or a foreign language, to identify just a few. Students with a double major then become highly qualified to pursue professional studies in medicine or law, or graduate studies in almost any liberal arts area.

The Applied Program

Consists of thirty credits, including Introduction to Philosophy (PHIL 113), Critical Thinking (PHIL 215), Ethics (PHIL 315), and any seven electives in Philosophy that focus on the nexus between philosophy and society. Typical courses in applied philosophy include, but are not limited to, Philosophy of Religion, Philosophy of Art, Philosophy of Music, Business Ethics, Environmental Ethics, Race, Class, and Gender, and Bioethics. In addition, two of the seven electives can be cognate courses from other departments. For example, courses such as Developmental Psychology (PSYC 251), Perspectives on the Pursuit of Peace (HIST 120), Criminology (CJ 303), and Social Foundations of Education (EDUC 414) can be used, with departmental approval, to satisfy two of the seven electives required for the applied major. Unlike the traditional major in philosophy, the major in applied philosophy must be a student’s second major program of study. The purpose of the applied program is to enable students to broaden their reflective and critical thinking skills as they apply to contemporary social concerns and issues. Students interested in careers in criminal justice, law, government, business, public administration, nursing, education, journalism, and psychology would benefit substantially from an applied philosophy major.